USA. HMSHost has partnered with former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to open a new restaurant at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Earnhardt Jr. cut the ribbon to officially open Dale Jr’s Whisky River in Terminal 2 yesterday (4 June). HMSHost has collaborated with joint venture partner J.Q. Enterprises, Inc for the new restaurant.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. cut the grand opening ribbon at Whisky River Raleigh-Durham International Airport surrounded by representatives from HMSHost, J.Q. Enterprises, and the airport, as well as local politicians and community members

Whisky River first opened in uptown Charlotte and has become an established part of North Carolina’s culinary scene. It offers a ‘signature honky-tonk hangout vibe’ which has been translated into the airport environment at Raleigh–Durham.

Televisions surround the bar area and will screen races and other sports. Carolina country style is reflected in various design elements such as cowhide seating and belt buckles which adorn an entire wall. Images of whisky barrels have been placed throughout the restaurant while a stationary bull is centred in the restaurant’s patio area.

Whisky River offers a ‘signature honky-tonk hangout vibe’ and celebrates Carolina country style

Live music from local musicians will feature on the Whisky River music stage at certain times. The dining room features a vista of the tarmac while the patio offers an open-air concourse dining experience.

“We’re very excited to bring the Whisky River experience to Raleigh-Durham International,” said Earnhardt Jr. “It’s another opportunity to welcome visitors to North Carolina with great food and live music. We have tremendous partners in HMSHost that have a long history of success within the industry. This is our second location together and we will be looking to expand into other venues as we grow the brand.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “It’s an opportunity to welcome visitors to North Carolina with great food and live music”

HMSHost President & CEO Steve Johnson commented: “We’re honoured to further our partnership with Dale Jr. by spotlighting this great restaurant to more travellers here at Raleigh-Durham. Travellers now have the chance to experience Whisky River’s signature menu and fun vibe as part of their travels at Raleigh–Durham.

“HMSHost, and our partner J.Q. Enterprises, thank the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority for working with us to continue enhancing the airport dining experience. Locally-inspired offerings like Whisky River will be a hit with travellers for many years to come.”

Belt buckles adorn an entire wall of the restaurant

Whisky River’s chef-driven menu features: house made Spicy Beef Chili; a Buffalo Chop salad; Beer Can Chicken; and a Texas Tequila Bacon Cheddar Burger. Breakfast items include Peaches & Cream Pancakes and the Carolina Biscuit.

The bar offers local craft brews and signature cocktails such as the Moonshine Mule and the Carolina Tea that’s served in a souvenir Whisky River mason jar.

Live music is a key feature of the restaurant’s offering and local musicians will be showcased

“Whisky River is a great addition to the line-up of dining experiences at Raleigh–Durham,” said Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth. “I’d like to thank HMSHost, J.Q. Enterprises, Dale Jr., and our own business development team for offering our travellers what they really like – great food, a fun atmosphere and a great start to their journey.”

A stationary bull is centred in the restaurant’s patio area

The Buffalo Chop salad (above) and Moonshine Mule cocktail (below) are some of the food & beverage highlights